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Piper Answers: What is the Whole Counsel of God?

Children Desiring God Blog // What is the Whole Counsel of God?

As children’s ministry and youth pastors, teachers and parents, it is critical for us to not only teach children the Gospel, but to not shrink back from teaching them the whole counsel of God. John Piper helps us understand what this means:

 

 

Join us at the Children Desiring God National Conference where we will have the opportunity to spend three days together exploring this meaning further, discovering the glorious truths found with in the whole counsel of God, understanding the ramifications if our children do not understand the whole counsel of God and equipping each other to teach the whole counsel of God to children and youth. We look forward to welcoming back John Piper as one of our five keynote speakers to discuss Understanding the Whole Counsel of God: How Our Children Can Know the Bible is True.

 

Children Desiring God Blog // What Is the Whole Counsel of God?John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminar. For over 30 years, John served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He’s the author of more than 50 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available for free at desiringGod.org). John and his wife, Noël, have five children, Barnabas, Karsten, Benjamin, Abraham and Talitha, and twelve grandchildren.

 

We hope to see you April 14-16 in Indianapolis! Learn more and register now!

 

 

What Are the Biggest Challenges Facing the Church?

Children Desiring God Blog // National Conference

What Are the Biggest Challenges Facing the Evangelical Church in 2016?

Children Desiring God Blog // National ConferenceIn a recent Ask Pastor John segment, John Piper shared his thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the evangelical church this year. Here is an excerpt:

…if you start at the beginning, the first and great commandment says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). So I would think, since that is the first commandment, that is the first challenge in every generation. Does the church and does the world love God with all their heart and all their soul and all their mind and all their strength? …if we don’t know God, we can’t love God.

Our worship to glorify God must be based on what we have seen of God, what we know of God, what he has revealed of himself. If we are just worshiping a haze, God is not getting a lot of glory from the warm feelings that we are having in our hearts because of the ignorance of not being in our heads because of the haze over our lives.

I have got this picture in my head of somebody who runs up to me on the road and says, “Here is $10,000. Please go put it in my bank. Here is my pin number, and here is my account number.” And I say, “I don’t even know you. What are you doing?” He just says, “I trust you.” I say, “Why do you trust me?” He says, “Oh, I don’t know. I feel inside like I should trust you.” My response is not to be honored. I feel like this guy is a nut.

However, if he runs up to me and says, “Here is $10,000 in cash. Please, here is my account number. Here is my pin number. Would you deposit it for me?” And I say, “Look, I don’t even know you. Why do you trust me?” He says, “Oh, I know you. We work in the same building. I have been watching you for a year. You are trustworthy. I will trust you, because I know you.” Then I feel honored.

That is the way it is with God. If we say, “Oh, I am just coming to God. I trust him. I don’t have any reasons for trusting him. I don’t need that theology stuff.” God thinks we are nuts. We are not honoring him. We are honoring a haze. And so knowledge really matters underneath the commandment. You have got to love God with all your heart and soul.

So today I think the biggest challenge is: Do people know God? Do people have a knowledge that is trustworthy? Therefore a huge issue is: What is the role of the Bible in the church today and is it trustworthy and are people basing their lives on it in their preaching on it? Are they getting the whole counsel of God so that they can love the whole God?

What Does this Mean for Children’s Ministry?

We are excited to have Pastor John and others join us to help us explore the topic of teaching the whole counsel of God to the next generations at the Children Desiring God National Conference, April 14-16 in Indianapolis. Our Keynote Sessions will include:

  1. Declaring the Whole Counsel of God to the Next Generation // Mark Vroegop
  2. Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God // Bruce Ware
  3. Holding Fast to the Whole Counsel of God Under Pressure to Conform //Albert Mohler
  4. Believing the Whole Counsel of God: How Our Children Can Know the Bible Is True // John Piper
  5. Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God // David Michael

We hope you can join us in learning how to teach the whole counsel of God to the children in your church so they can wholeheartedly love God in response to this knowledge!

Early Bird Registration Closes Sunday January 31

Register by 11:59pm (CST), January 31 to receive Early Bird Pricing!

Children Desiring God Blog // National Conference

 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

This Christmas, may you and your family worship Jesus, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, who is most special of all.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

We wish you the merriest Christmas!

David, Sally, Jill, Brian, Terry, Holly, Karen, Betty, Suzy, Nicole, Annie and Rachel

 

 

Change Coming to the NIV Fighter Verses

Changes Coming to the NIV Fighter Verses

It has been a wonderful privilege to encourage you since 1997 to hide God’s Word in your heart through the Fighter Verse Bible memory program.

On January 1st, 2016, Children Desiring God will update all of the Fighter Verses resources in the New International Version (NIV) from the NIV1984 version to the NIV2011 translation. Due to restrictions from the publisher, we can no longer offer the 1984 NIV version after December 31. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you.

The Fighter Verses App

NIV2011 will replace NIV1984 verses in our Fighter Verses App in the next couple weeks.  This change will show up on your smartphone or tablet the next time you update your app from iTunes or Google Play.

Fighter Verses, Extended Verses and Foundation Verse Packs

You may purchase NIV1984 Fighter Verses, Extended Verses and Foundation Verses packs from our website through December 31, 2015.  Starting January 1, all NIV Fighter Verses resources purchased through our website will be in NIV2011. These NIV1984 resources will be on sale through the end of the year (Limited quantities available).

We know changing or updating translations can be difficult when memorizing. We pray this change will not deter you from the wonderful discipline of Bible memory.  Memorizing the Word is crucial to our fight of faith. Consider just a few amazing realities of God’s Word:

Every Word of God proves trueProv 30:5
God watches over his Word to perform itJer 1:12
God’s Word never returns emptyIs 55:11
God’s Word is truthPs 199:160
God’s Word is sharper than a two-edged swordHeb 4:12
People are saved by God’s WordJam 1:18
People are sanctified by God’s WordJohn 17:17
People have joy through God’s Word
Ps 119:14
God’s Word will remain forever
Is 40:8
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us
John 1:14

At this time, all Children Desiring God NIV curriculum will remain in the 1984 version. Curriculum and Fighter Verses resources in the English Standard Version (ESV) will not be effected by this change.

 

Now Available: The Fighter Verses Study!

The Fighter Verses Study

What could be more valuable than teaching families not only to know the Scriptures, but also to linger over them as they discuss and color, and to pray them into reality.” –John Piper, founder and teacher, desiringGod.org

The Fighter Verses Study will help guide you through key Scripture passages and arm you with tools to strengthen your faith in Christ and equip you to fight the fight of faith. The study can be used as a family devotional, small group discussion or personal study. Thought provoking questions throughout each lesson will spur you on to dig deeper into Scripture as you support and encourage one another through the battles of life. The year-long study coordinates with the verses in Set One of the Fighter Verses Bible memory program.

Sample: The Fighter Verses Study, Set One

Scope & Sequence: The Fighter Verses Study, Set One

Order your own copy today!

 

The Fighter Verses Study Resources

THE FIGHTER VERSES DISCUSSION GUIDE

The Fighter Verses Discussion GuideFor Fathers, Small Group Leaders, Teachers, or Individuals

The Discussion Guide includes 52 lessons, each based on a verse or short passage. Lessons include an introduction to the context of the verse and two or three parts looking at different sections of the text. Each part includes questions that will lead you to a better understanding of the verses. These can be answered personally or discussed in a group. At the end of each part are application questions, prayer points, and an encouragement to journal and memorize the verse.

Also available in a 13-week Study.

 

THE FIGHTER VERSES STUDY GUIDE

The Fighter Verses Study GuideFor Study Participants or Individuals

The Study Guide includes the same main content for each of the 52 lessons found in the Discussion Guide. The Study Guide helps participants in a family or small group study ponder and understand each week’s Scripture passage through guided questions which can be answered personally and discussed as a group.

Also available in a 13-week Study.

 

THE FIGHTER VERSES COLORING BOOK

The Fighter Verses Coloring BookFor Children (Ages 2-102)

The Coloring Book gives children of all ages a visual representation of each of the 52 verses along with a key truth statement to focus on. This is a great resource to help younger children engage during a family or group discussion of the study and it encourages them memorize the verse along with the whole family. These original illustrations include a blend of powerful Bible stories brought to life; children in real-life, modern-day moments; and beautiful nature scenes.

Note: The Coloring Book can be used alongside The Fighter Verses Study, by children memorizing Fighter Verses, or by itself as an encouraging, Bible-based coloring resource for children.

THE FIGHTER VERSES JOURNAL

The Fighter Verses JournalTo Record Your Reflections, Insights, and Action Steps

Use the Journal in your personal quiet time with the Lord to reflect on the Fighter Verses and record truths that have made an impact on your life, actions steps you want to take, or how God is using the verses you memorize in your everyday life. The Journal sets aside two pages for each passage and includes the verse written out along with a short paragraph to explain the verse or challenge you as you study.

Note: The Journal can be used as an extension of The Fighter Verses Study or by individuals who are simply memorizing the Fighter Verses and want to incorporate it into their personal study or devotional times.

 

 

Now Available: God’s Gospel

God's Gospel family devotion book on salvation

We often think about what our children will inherit from those who have gone before them.

But what about the one inheritance that will last forever?

Christian parents have already faced the reality of their own sin, helplessness, and need for a Savior. And, though our young children’s lives often seem simpler than ours, their spiritual predicament is every bit as real. They are never too young to hear God’s good news for them as they face eternity–but as a parent, you may be wondering how to explain it to them in a way they can understand.

We are excited to announce the release of our favorite author’s first book. In God’s Gospel, Jill Nelson continues the Making HIM Known family devotional series as she demonstrates that even young children can learn about the gospel in full detail. This full color, illustrated book is perfect for parent to read with 5- to ten-year-old children. God’s Gospel has 26 chapters that are the perfect length for a family devotion time or one-on-one story time. Each chapter also includes several application questions along with an activity suggestion.

As you read through God’s Gospel, you and your children will discover God’s plan of salvation, starting with his very first designs for creation and moving through what went wrong, how important and hopeless our situation truly is, and what the wonderful news of our Savior’s sacrifice means for us.

Don’t just prepare your children for this life–prepare them for the one that matters most!

Take a look inside:

Read the First Chapter

View the Table of Contents

Order you own copy today!

 

You may also be interested God’s Word.

 

Awake My Soul and Praise the Lord

Children Desiring God Blog // Awake My Soul Hymn

Each Monday, the Children Desiring God team gathers together for a time of devotions, hymn singing and prayer for each other and each of you. This week, we sung the hymn, Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun, which Thomas Ken wrote based on the following verses:

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Psalm 57:8 & 103:1

Although you may not recognize the title or composer, the eleventh verse is on of the most frequently used pieces of music in public worship…commonly known as the Doxology.

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Encourage One Another in Community

Children Desiring God Blog  //  Facebook Community

When we as a team look back on our conferences, one of our favorite things is being able to connect with you, our partners is ministry. It a joy to meet you, hear your testimonies on how God is working in your ministry, share ideas, answer questions and see you networking with others. While we can’t wait to see you face-to-face at our National Conference in April (registration details coming in the next few weeks), we want to keep this connection going year round and help you meet fellow partners in ministry from around the world.

You are invited to join the Children Desiring God Community on Facebook. The purpose of this group is to provide a place for children’s ministry leaders and volunteers to gather and support each other as we spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things so that the next generation may know and cherish Jesus Christ as the only one who saves and satisfies the desires of the heart.

Who is the Community for?

Our Community has a wonderful group of children’s ministry leaders, youth pastors, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, worship leaders, church staff members, parents and others who use or are interested in Children Desiring God curriculum and resources. The Community is a private group on Facebook. Just click the “Request to Join” button and we will welcome you in.

What is our Community’s Goal?

The Community is a place where you can connect with others who are passionate about teaching the Gospel to children. Feel free to comment on our “Community Gathering” posts or start your own discussion. Here are some conversation starter ideas:

  • Testimonies about how God is working in your ministry
  • Questions about teaching, small group leading, worship leading, team leading, starting a Sunday School program, etc.
  • Questions about specific illustrations, visuals, lessons, workbook pages, etc. (Be sure to mention the curriculum and lesson number you are asking about)
  • Ideas that worked great in your class such as an application questions or activity
  • Resources for finding supplies for your classroom
  • Prayer requests for you ministry
  • Networking–find other in children’s ministry in your geographic area or ministry niche

Enjoy getting to know and encouraging each other as you answer each other’s questions and share ideas!

 

 

A Look Inside: Open My Eyes, Part 4

Open My Eyes

Today is the final day we are taking an inside look at the themes found in Open My Eyes, our new curriculum for senior high students on studying the Bible.

  1. The need to study the Bible
  2. Understanding the genres of Biblical literature
  3. Learning inductive Bible study skills
  4. Responding to God in faith from the heart

The final five lessons of Open My Eyes focus on presenting the work of the Word in salvation and presenting the Gospel message. Students will put into practice the different inductive Bible study techniques they have learned as they look at Scripture to discover these truths.

The Word of God is effective in penetrating man’s heart and brings salvation when it is received in faith by those who have not hardened their hearts. Believers need to strive to enter God’s rest as they diligently hear, accept and respond to God’s Word.

Open My Eyes VisualAlthough we are instructed to strive to believe, John recorded the two responses people have to Jesus—acceptance or rejection. As students examine the responses of the “many”, Nicodemus, the scribes and the Pharisees, they are reminded that saving faith can only come as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about new birth.

Open My Eyes VisualOur responses are not always what they should be, but God mercifully withholds judgment and extends His grace towards men to give them the opportunity to repent. As youth interpret the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, they learn the difference between presumption and repentance, the purpose of God’s kindness, the consequence of a failure to repent and the righteousness of God’s judgment.

Open My Eyes VisualThe process of salvation begins with election, and moves through the Gospel call, regeneration, conversion (repentance and faith), justification and adoption. Jesus accepts all who come to him, and for those who respond to God’s call to salvation, He is at work in their lives. Students will look at the responses of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus along with the context of the historical narrative around it.

Open My Eyes VisualThe final lesson of Open My Eyes concludes with the truth that God’s words are sweet to those who have a close relationship with Him. God’s promise of either blessing or curse in Deuteronomy 30:15-18, and the conditions for each, are illustrated as fulfilled in the life of Jeremiah and his fulfilled prophecy concerning Judah’s destruction. Through examining various texts, students are shown that God keeps His Word and that God’s Word sustains His people in the midst of difficulty and trial. Youth are encouraged to examine their heart attitude toward the Word of God.

Learn More About Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes Classroom KitBe sure to enter our contest to win a free copy of the Open My Eyes Classroom Kit. To enter, visit the contest post and leave a comment as directed.

If you would like to learn more about Open My Eyes, view the Curriculum Sample or place an order for your own copy of the study.

What are you most excited to teach the senior high students in your church about studying the Bible? Feel free to share in a comment below or ask any questions you have about Open My Eyes!

 

 

A Look Inside: Open My Eyes, Part 3

Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes is our brand new study for youth on studying the Bible and we are so excited to be hosting an Open My Eyes Classroom Kit Giveaway! We would love to you all but enter the contest, but why should you bother? This week we are looking at the truths taught in Open My Eyes and why it is important for teenagers to learn these lifelong skills. The study focuses on these four themes:

  1. The need to study the Bible
  2. Understanding the genres of Biblical literature
  3. Learning inductive Bible study skills
  4. Responding to God in faith from the heart

The main section of lessons in Open My Eyes looks at the genres of Biblical literature, which we discussed yesterday, and teaches the four steps of inductive Bible studies. Open My Eyes is not an exhaustive training of all inductive study methods, but rather it provides a foundation for students that can be used in any personal or formal Bible study.

1. Reading

The first step is to read the Bible. Students are encouraged to regularly read their Bible with purpose. Through careful reading and recording their thoughts and questions, they will be able to get to know God better.

2. Observing

Fifteen lessons in Open My Eyes teach youth the techniques God has given us to use that are helpful in understanding the Bible. Although the first step to good Bible reading and study is always prayer, these techniques enables students to dig deeper into the passages, analyze the context and discover the author’s intended meaning. Techniques include:

  • Open My Eyes VisualAsking questions while purposely and actively approaching a text.
  • Looking at the historical setting of the book and the customs of the time.
  • Exploring the immediate literary context of words, looking at the sentence, paragraph, chapter, book and the Bible as a whole to understand the author’s intended meaning.
  • Open My Eyes VisualUnderstanding that grammar matters. Students learn how to mark up a passage, identifying nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives in order to determine the meaning of the verses.
  • Biblical writers employed the literary techniques to add strength to their words. Repetition establishes a theme, listing groups thoughts and rhetorical questions add emphasis.
  • Open My Eyes VisualFigurative language in the Bible communicates spiritual truth powerfully to our hearts, but it must be handled carefully. Youth discover how similes, metaphors, personification, anthropomorphism and hyperbole emphasize key points, communicate truth in a known context and create an emotional response.
  • Identifying classifying statements and independent and dependent clauses encourages application.
  • Finding connecting words and tying together thoughts throughout a passage can unlock the meaning of a text.
  • Open My Eyes VisualObserving logical connections and learning to follow the author’s flow of thought helps youth understand passages.
  • A passage must be understood in the broader literary and theological contexts of its chapter and book, of the whole Bible, and of man’s fallen condition and redemption.
  • To understand the author’s intent and flow of thought, it is important to observe the structure of the text. Student will learn to look for transition markers to break the text into passages, and then to find the main point of the passages.
  • Open My Eyes VisualTo correctly understand a passage, it is important to observe the connections, check the context and follow the author’s flow of thought through the use of mapping.
  • Outlining a passage is another useful tool students will use to understand the author’s flow of thought.

 

3. Interpreting

Open My Eyes VisualsThe Bible is a spiritual book and must be spiritually understood through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. In addition, God has given us sound principles of interpretation to help us rightly interpret the Bible and avoid falling into error. Student start by examining Psalm 25:5 to find several keys to interpretation, then they are taught and practice a series of interpretation principles. These Biblical principles are deduced from Scripture and are applicable to all people, in all cultures, at all times. The most important one is to use the Bible to interpret the Bible.

4. Applying

Open My Eyes VisualUnderstanding the Bible will not make much difference in students’ lives if they do not discover how God wants them to respond to the Scriptures using life application questions. Youth will be challenged to plan practical actions steps they can take and ask the questions: What should I think? What should I be? What should I do?

The Inductive Bible Study Handbook

The Inductive Bible Study HandbookStudents are encouraged to practice these skills both in the classroom using the Student In-Class Notebook and during the week with the Student At-Home Journal. With so much to learn, The Inductive Bible Study Handbook is a wonderful reference tool that walks through the four steps of inductive Bible study in an easy to understand way. It is an essential tool for students going through Open My Eyes to reinforce what they are learning. It can also be used by anyone wanting to strengthen their study skills for personal study or other Bible studies.

Start teaching these truths to your youth!

We are giving away a free copy of the Open My Eye Classroom Kit. Be sure to visit our contest post and leave a comment there to enter.

If you would like to learn more about Open My Eyes, view the Curriculum Sample or place an order for your own copy of the study.

 

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